It’s the holiday–and holiday party–season. Hooray! Perhaps your thoughts turn to wine. As in, “What wine do I bring?” Does deciding on a bottle fill you with dread and anxiety? Well whenever I start (mildly, methodically, constructively) freaking out about wine, I take a few deep breaths, remind myself that it’s just fermented grape juice (NBD), and ponder who exactly will be at said festive event. Then procure my wine accordingly. Here are a few suggestions on how to keenly navigate various seasonal situations:
Partying With Friends
Go big. As in a big bottle. Nothing is more festive at a large party than a magnum. You stroll in cradling 1.5 litres of wine like it was a royal baby, set it on the table, and bask in your awesomeness. But big bottles don’t have to mean big prices. You’d be surprised how many producers of non-super fancy wines offer super-sized versions of their wine. A few to consider:
Red – Vietti Perbacco Nebbiolo Langhe (Piedmont, yo)
White – Domaine de la Pepiere Muscadet Sevre et Maine (refreshing Loire Valley delight)
Sparkling: Roederer Estate NV Brut (California bubbles with a Champagne pedigree)
The Boss’ House
Wow, you got invited to the home of your supervisor? How’d you swing that? All your hard work and dedication? Or your boss wants to berate you for your insolent attitude in the comfort of their own home? Regardless, think of something distinct and gift-worthy, because this might just be a ruse by your boss to accumulate a stash of wine via underlings like you…while s/he directs you to a tableful of uninspired plonk and warm lager. (BTW, your boss sucks.)
Go for Madeira. It’s a historic fortified wine from an island, it’s delicious, and an open bottle lasts FOREVER. That pedestrian Pinot Grigio some office drone brought? It gets mindlessly swilled and forgotten, like their chances for a raise. With Madeira, however, your boss can linger over a small glass every night for days, a constant reminder of your excellent taste. Blandy’s and Broadbent are two producers to keep in mind; get a bottle of 5-year from either.
Hmm, depending on your family you might want to think along the lines of what you’d bring to a friend’s place: a large vessel. I like to walk in with something mood-elevating. Like rosé. Maybe your dour auntie or sullen cousin can be perked up by a colourful glass of refreshing, dry pink wine. A table resplendent with pink wine, and hopefully some flavourful food, can wipe away any black clouds hanging over the meal. Pick up a rosé from Provence and be transported to your happy place.
Dinner at Home with Your Significant Other
One word: Champagne. If they don’t like Champagne? One word: Flee. Nothing says holidays and celebration like sparkling wine. Just make sure the two of you make a resolution to enjoy bottles of bubbles year-round in the upcoming year. Two of my favorite true Champagnes (as in coming from the Champagne region of France) that don’t break the bank are Henriot and Gaston Chiquet.
Words by Jameson Fink